What are Twinning Wisps in a diamond? And are twinning wisps inclusions good or bad?

The diamond inclusion referred to as “Twinning Wisps” are intergrowth within the diamond, which has twisted together within a twinning plane. It is essentially a twisting of the diamond crystal plane, and usually contains a variety of inclusions, such as diamond crystals, fractures, feathers, and clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals, which may be light or dark in color. At high magnification, twinning wisps often look like white or black stripes, or streaking within the diamond; it can look like cotton candy. Twinning wisps are not necessarily bad inclusions, they simply need to be carefully evaluated on a stone-by-stone basis to determine whether they affect visual performance.

Identifying twinning wisps on diamond plotting diagram:

What are twinning wisps in diamond, James Allen diamond reviews, GIA 2186325557The twinning wisps within this diamond are indicated on the plotting diagram by the five red squiggly lines that extend outward from the center of the table facet towards the girdle edge of the diamond. If you look closely at the clarity photograph provided of the diamond above, you should be able to see the twinning wisps located in the relative three o’clock and nine o’clock regions; just look for darker stripe-like patterns of diamond crystals. Note that just because inclusions may appear dark in a clarity photograph does not necessarily mean that they are actually dark in appearance, because the light source located behind the diamond can make light inclusions look dark.


Are diamond clarity inclusions light or dark?

Inclusions within diamonds can be light or dark in color and tone. Diamond inclusions such as diamond crystals and twinning wisps can often appear dark in a clarity photograph, when they appear light or translucent when being viewed through a 10x diamond grading loupe.

The inclusions within diamonds can appear darker in diamond clarity photographs because they are being backlit so that the location and extent of the inclusions can be identified, this is a lot like taking a photograph of somebody with the sun setting behind them; the subject of the photograph will appear dark unless a flash is used to provide a light source from the other side… the problem is that this usually makes it difficult to see the inclusions within the diamond, because of all the sparkle that it creates.

I had originally found this 1.20 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, round diamond on James Allen, while conducting a search on James Allen for ideal cut diamonds, for a client who was looking for options in the range of 1.20 – 1.49 carats, G-color to H-color, SI-1 to VS-2 clarity.

By the way, I found the same 1.20 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, round is available from Enchanted Diamonds, while conducing a search on Enchanted Diamonds for ideal cut diamonds in the same range of diamond quality; unfortunately the diamond SOLD before they could tell me whether the diamond crystals trapped within the twinning wisps were light or dark in color / tone.

Since it can be difficult to ascertain whether the inclusions within a diamond are light or dark in appearance, I generally only consider diamonds that contain twinning wisps as an inclusion type if they are being offered by diamond cutters like Brian Gavin, or dealers like High Performance Diamonds, who carry physical inventory, and who can walk over to the vault, pull the diamond and take a real good look at it for me.

Crafted by Infinity diamond review: AGS 104076394019

Example of acceptable twinning wisps diamond inclusions, Crafted by Infinity diamond review, AGSL 104076394019This 1.588 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, round diamond from Crafted by Infinity, contains an example of what I consider to be acceptable twinning wisps within a diamond. Since this diamond is a Crafted by Infinity diamond, which is available online from High Performance Diamonds, I was able to Skype my buddy Wink and ask him to take a look at the twinning wisps and let me know whether the diamond crystals contained in the twinning wisps are light or dark in appearance. Wink immediately responded by saying “I’m quite familiar with the diamond, all of the inclusions are totally translucent!” and then he proceeded to send me this fantastic video of this Crafted by Infinity diamond:


Diamond clarity video of feathers and twinning wisps inclusions:

Notice that Wink isn’t shy about pointing out the inclusions within this diamond, especially the feather which is the primary inclusion that is most responsible for the SI-2 clarity grade, nor the twinning wisps contained within the diamond, and that he clearly points out that this 1.588 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity super ideal cut round diamond is not entirely eye clean, which is not surprising for an SI-2 clarity diamond, because very few are what I would consider to be truly eye clean!

Wink describes the diamond as being “eye clean-ish” because he’s able to locate the primary inclusions with just his eyes, when closely examining the diamond, after becoming familiar with the inclusions… but points out that the diamond is eye clean to him, when viewed from a normal viewing distance, making this the perfect diamond for somebody who wants to max out the range of carat weight for a budget of 14 – 15K; while maintaining an exceptional degree of diamond cut quality, and the type of optical precision that produces a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows!

Crafted by Infinity diamond review, AGSL 104076394019, Hearts and ArrowsThe fantastic thing about super ideal cut diamonds like this 1.588 carat, G-color, SI-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity round diamond, is that creation of the hearts pattern requires an incredible level of three dimensional precision in terms of facet shape and alignment; this results in the diamond exhibiting virtual facets that are larger in size, these are the internal reflections seen within a diamond as it moves, and this creates what I refer to as “broad spectrum sparkle” which is larger in size, bolder, brighter, and more intense than what is exhibited by the average zero ideal cut diamond. This type of broad spectrum sparkle helps to mask the visibility of inclusions within a diamond.


Should you buy diamonds with twinning wisp inclusions:

Due to the variable nature of the diamond inclusion type twinning wisps, I generally avoid them unless the diamonds happen to be contained within the physical inventory of Brian Gavin Signature or Crafted by Infinity diamonds as offered by High Performance Diamonds, because I trust these two dealers to eliminate diamonds with twinning wisps that are having a negative impact upon the durability or visual performance of a diamond.

Clearly Wink from High Performance Diamonds is capable of providing an extremely in-depth evaluation of the diamonds in his inventory, and he’s the type of guy who is going to tell it like it is when it comes down to whether an SI-2 or SI-1 clarity diamond is eye clean… so is Brian Gavin, which is why I truly enjoy working with these two guys, and we’ve been good friends for years! Probably because we all speak the same language when it comes to diamond cut quality, and how we see things in terms of the effect that inclusions can have upon a diamond; and that over the years, they’ve never failed to “tell it like it is” when I’ve asked them their impression of a diamond.

My personal preference for diamonds that contain twinning wisps as an inclusion type is that they be primarily translucent in appearance, this is because larger twinning wisps that contain diamond crystals that are dark in appearance, might affect the visual performance of the diamond; while my experience has been that the presence of twinning wisps that contain diamond crystals that are primarily translucent in appearance, do not affect the visual performance of the diamond.

Zig Ziglar quote: you can have everything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they wantBe sure to take advantage of my free Diamond Concierge Service if you would like help finding the diamond of your dreams! The service costs you nothing, my time is paid for by the various vendors who I work with if you purchase a diamond using the affiliate link provided. Note that doing so does NOT change your purchase price of the diamond, and that I am happy to assist you regardless of whether you intend to purchase from one of my preferred vendors, another online vendor, or your local brick and mortar jeweler! It’s a concept I learned from the great Zig Ziglar who said “you can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want!”

Todd Gray
Todd Gray is a professional diamond buyer with 30+ years of trade experience. He loves to teach people how to buy diamonds that exhibit incredible light performance! In addition to writing for Nice Ice, Todd "ghost writes" blogs and educational content for other diamond sites. When Todd isn't chained to a desk, or consulting for the trade, he enjoys Freediving! (that's like scuba diving, but without air tanks)
Todd Gray


Professional diamond buyer with 30+ years trade experience in the niche of super ideal cut diamonds. In my free time, I enjoy freediving & photography.
The incredible #story behind the Sirisha diamond necklace by @BrianGavin 71 #Diamonds cut to order #Amazinghttps://t.co/dHOo1T99xT - 1 year ago

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